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DIIS-Seminar: Saving African lives or exporting 'Fortress Europe'? (København)

European border strategies in Niger and Libya and the local ramifications.


Tirsdag, 22. maj 2018 - 13:00 til 15:00


DIIS - Danish Institute for International Studies, Auditorium, Gl. Kalkbrænderi Vej 51A, København Ø

The so-called Central Mediterranean migration route to Italy via Niger and Libya has for years been one of the most important and dangerous migration routes in the world.

In the wake of recent EU interventions in Libya and Niger, however, the number of people crossing the desert and the sea has reportedly dropped significantly in the past year.

But what do we know about these interventions and how are they perceived locally?

Are they seen as saving African lives or as exporting European border control measures?

In this seminar, two prominent scholars will discuss the shape and status of recent European interventions in Niger and Libya, the two main transit countries for especially West African migration to Europe.

In northern Niger, there is a growing local discontent with European driven attempts to close down the desert routes, causing some observers to worry about the stability of the volatile region.

And in Libya, many have questioned the wisdom and moral integrity of Italy's collaboration with local militias to stop migrants and refugees from leaving for Europe.

Here, we ask what political and humanitarian challenges the present border interventions represent today and looking ahead.  


  • Julien Brachet, Researcher, IRD – Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne
  • Claudia Gazzini, Senior Analyst, The International Crisis Group
  • Hans Lucht, Senior Researcher, Danish institute for International Studies


13.00 - 13.10: Welcome and coffee - Hans Lucht, DIIS

13.10 - 13.35: Policing the desert: EU border control and the demonization of smugglers in Agadez, Niger - Julien Brachet

13.35 - 14.00: Migrants and militias: The business of human smuggling in Libya - Claudia Gazzini

14.00 - 14.45: Discussion

Practical information

The seminar will be in English.

Participation is free of charge, but registration is required. Please use our online registration form no later than Wednesday 21 May 2018, at 12.00 noon.

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